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There's a certain gentleman who writes regularly to our Grumpy Guest Book calling himself Angry French John. He writes, eloquently and with a certain piquancy of expression (the expression becoming less eloquent and more piquant as the evening passes and the red wine flows) of the joys of not living in the UK any more. He's done the sensible thing and bought a place in France. Lucky b*gg*r.

We don't have a photo of AFJ, so we
thought this would do instead

The GOS thought of AFJ when he read this article by Michael Knapp in the Daily Express this week.
Immigration is rife, but thousands are quitting Britain
Britain is facing a mass exodus of people looking to escape the crime and grime of modern living. The country's biggest foreign visa consultancy firm has revealed that applications have soared in the last seven months by 80 per cent to almost 4,000 a week. Ten years ago the figure was just 300 a week. Most people are relocating within the Commonwealth - in Australia, Canada and South Africa. They are almost all young professionals and skilled workers aged 20-40.
And many cite their reason for wanting to quit as immigration to these shores - and the burden it is placing on their communities and local authorities. The dearth of good schools, spiralling house prices, rising crime and tax increases are also driving people away.
Obtaining a visa to live abroad can cost as little as 1,500 for the right candidates. Plumbers, electricians, construction workers and doctors are famously in demand. The only obstruction to emigration from the UK is a criminal record, poor health, advancing age and being a "third country national".
Liam Clifford, a former immigration control officer, set up as a one-man band 12 years ago. He now employs 60 people and is in the process of opening new offices in both South Africa and Australia. Mr Clifford said: "It's absolutely phenomenal. People are trying to get away to wherever they can, and most are successful.
"Ironically, one of the main reasons for leaving is the overstretch of services due to increasing immigration into the UK. People are looking for the better standard of living offered by other countries, as even the most idyllic villages in Britain are under pressure from rising populations.
"Skilled labour is obviously an advantage, but so is speaking the English language. Most countries are harder to get into if you don't speak English. UK plc simply isn't fighting hard enough to keep its people. Some are telling us they are fed up with living in this country. Even business people are saying they've had enough.
"They're saying 'I can't put my children into the right school, but if I move abroad I can'. Most people are very patriotic and don't want to leave. They're almost terrified about it. But they say they just have to.
"It's a shame people at the top don't recognise they're not doing enough to retain highly skilled workers in this country. A lot of them are quite young, and they're not idle. They just can't see a future for themselves in this country. They want to get married and settle down and buy homes, but they can't see it happening here.
"And time and time again they are saying to us they don't want to be seen as racist because they are quitting because of immigration. We tell them of course they're not."
According to the most recent Office of National Statistics figures, in 2005 the official number of people leaving UK shores was 352,000 - up from 249,000 in 1995. The majority - around 150,000 - migrated from London and the south east.
Among those who headed out were Simon Blood, 26, and Rachel Roberts, 23, who moved to Australia four months ago. The couple, from Stoke-on-Trent, are loving their new life in far north Queensland so much that they've decided it's permanent.
Apart from family, football and a few television programmes, there's nothing they miss about home. Embracing the warmest winter they've ever known - averaging 24C daily - both relish the commute to work which takes just five minutes, leaving plenty of time for walks on the beach. Simon, a marketing executive, and Rachel, a nurse, followed their dream after seeing a newspaper advertisement for nursing recruits Down Under. "It all went very smoothly," said Simon. "It's beautiful here and we've no plans to go back for good."


The GOS says: Now, let's think, why would anyone not want to live in Britain? Does it give you a clue if I just pluck a few ideas from the air? Rotten schools and desperate teachers? Rotten hospitals and demoralised doctors? Unbridled immigration? The biggest prison population in Europe and still there's not enough room? Vicious national and local government that thinks nothing of victimising those members of its electorate who have the misfortune to be British and white? Rampant crime and disorder in our city streets? A demoralised and ineffective police force who know exactly what to do and how to do it, but aren't allowed in case they infringe some criminal's rights?
No, it's no good. Can't understand it at all. AFJ, come back - you made a mistake, but we'll forgive you.


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